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Top 10 Most Dog Friendly Cities in the US (and Which Cities Dog Owners Should Avoid at All Costs!)

most dog friendly cities in the US
Image courtesy of WalletHub.

Ready to discover the most dog friendly cities in the US?

When moving to a new city, it’s common for families to consider what kind of impact it’ll have on their children.  How are the schools?  Is it safe?  How much are childcare costs?

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Why shouldn’t we have the same mentality when it comes to our dogs?

Just like with children, some cities create a much better atmosphere you and your furry family members.  Not only will they be happier, but it’ll be easier for you to take care of them and give them the best life that they deserve.

This year, WalletHub put together a comprehensive ranking of the 100 largest US cities.  Using 24 different factors, they were able to fairly and unbiasedly rank them on their pet friendliness and, in doing so, discover the top 10 most dog friendly cities in the US.

What Determines the Most Dog Friendly Cities in the US?

There are lots of things you should factor in when determining how dog friendly a city is for you.  Not everyone weights each factor the same in importance and many of these are largely dependent on your budget and financial situation which varies from person to person.  The 24 factors used in the WalletHub comparison were divided into three categories:

Pet Budget

This category was given a 25% weighting total and focuses on how the cost of typical dog expenses in each city.  The cost of vet care played a large role in this score.  Just as important was the average cost of pet insurance premiums in the area.  Regardless of where you live, if you don’t have pet insurance already, you should absolutely get it to protect yourself against large, unforeseen emergency vet expenses.  We recommend getting a free quote online from Healthy Paws.

Read More: Is Pet Insurance a Waste of Money?

Pet Health & Wellness

This category was given a 50% weighting, but encompasses a broad range of factors from your pet’s physical health to their emotional well-being.  The amount of veterinarians, pet sitters, dog trainers, and pet stores in the area played a large role.  Other less-obvious but still important factors were the amount of dog friendly hotels, dog friendly restaurants, and dog friendly stores.  Finally, other miscellaneous contributors to this category were the pet-friendliness of the rental market, the amount of pet meetup groups in the area, and the strength of local animal protection laws.

Outdoor Pet-Friendliness

We spend a great deal of time together with our pups outside, so this category was given a 25% weighting.  The general weather played a role in the rankings as well as dog parks in the area, walkability, and dog friendly walking trails.

Top 10 Most Dog Friendly Cities in the US

#10 Most Dog Friendly City: Portland, OR

  • Pet Budget: 54/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 21/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 9/100

Portland is not only weird, it’s dog friendly too!  It’s no surprise Portland ranked so high in Outdoor Pet Friendliness, as it was tied for the city with both the most dog parks per capita.  With 33 dog parks in the city, that’s a lot of places to take your pup for a romp!  As one of the few cities outside France that permits dogs inside bars, you’ll have a huge selection of places to have a drink with your best friend.

#9 Most Dog Friendly City: Seattle, WA

  • Pet Budget: 76/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 7/100Pet Budget: 76/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 11/100

Did you know there are more dogs in Seattle than children?!  As long as you don’t mind a little rain, Seattle is a great place for you and your dog to call home.  Living in the city without a car?  No problem!  Seattle allows dogs on Metro busses and trains.  Seattle is obsessed with dogs and it shows—there are over 30 meetup groups for dog owners!

#8 Most Dog Friendly City: St. Louis, MO

  • Pet Budget: 54/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 21/100Pet Budget: 54/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 9/100

Saint Louis is dog friendly and they want you to know it!  They even went so far as to create a tourism TV ad promoting how pet friendly of a city they are—watch it below!  On their tourism website they also feature a list of dog friendly restaurants, bars, attractions, and museums in the city!

#7 Most Dog Friendly City: Atlanta, GA

  • Pet Budget: 17/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 20/100Pet Budget: 17/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 45/100

As one of the more budget-friendly cities for pet owners, Atlanta comes in as the city with the 5th lowest pet insurance premiums in the country!  You’ll have no trouble spending that cash you save though, as Atlanta is also tied for the most dog friendly restaurants per capita in the country as well!  Don’t forget about visiting Piedmont park and it’s massive 3 acre off-leash dog park.  It even hosts events for dogs like their annual “Splish Splash Doggie Bash” at the end of each summer.

#6 Most Dog Friendly City: Las Vegas, NV

  • Pet Budget: 23/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 6/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 71/100

Tied for the most dog parks per capita, most pet stores per capita, and most veterinarians per capita, Las Vegas pet owners really did hit the jackpot!  On top of that, you’ll never have to worry about your big plans getting cancelled due to weather as it only rains around 14 days per year.  Of course it’s not Vegas without a little splurging—it’s ranked 7th as one of the cities with the most pampered dogs based on dog toy sales on Amazon.  

#5 Most Dog Friendly City: Phoenix, AZ

  • Pet Budget: 26/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 16/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 15/100

With endless sunshine and beautiful landscapes, outdoor adventures are only a short drive away in Phoenix.  With an abundance of businesses and restaurants allowing your furry friend, you’ll have no shortage of activities to do in the city as well.  In particular, the Phoenix Public Market is dog friendly and features vendors of pet treats and accessories.  Or if sports are more your thing, take in a baseball game at Chase Field during one of their Dog Days of Summer games.

#4 Most Dog Friendly City: Austin, TX

  • Pet Budget: 31/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 2/100Pet Budget: 31/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 54/100

Austin has no trouble keeping up its reputation for being unique when it comes to their pet friendly amenities.  It’s tied for the most dog friendly restaurants per capita including Bow-Wow Bones, a food truck that serves natural treats for dogs out on a walk.  You’ll have no trouble creating your Christmas cards this year either, as they have 35 pet photographers in the city!  And finally, to get in shape for those photos consider attending Austin Doga, a yoga class designed to be taken with your dog!

#3 Most Dog Friendly City: Tampa, FL

  • Pet Budget: 10/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 17/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 13/100

Tied for the most veterinarians per capita, your dog will stay healthy and happy in Tampa.  Get out in the sunshine at one of Tampa’s dog beaches at Davis Island or Picnic Island where they can run free and play in the waves!  At the end of the day, take a sunset cruise with your dog on Shell Key Shuttle where you can bring one dog free per adult!

#2 Most Dog Friendly City: Orlando, FL

  • Pet Budget: 7/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 4/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 51/100

Turns out Orlando is a magical location for dogs too!  While the tourists spend money hand-over-fist, Orlando is one of the most budget-friendly cities for pet owners.  It’s also not lacking in amenities either as it’s tied for the most dog-friendly restaurants per capita.  There’s over 20 dog parks with most of them having obstacles, activities, or water for swimming to cool down from the Florida heat. There’s no doubt why Orlando is one of the most dog friendly cities in the US!

#1 Most Dog Friendly City: Scottsdale, AZ

  • Pet Budget: 80/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 1/100Pet Budget: 80/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 6/100

As the number 1 overall city for Pet Health & Wellness, you know there will be no shortage of activities for you and your dog to enjoy in Scottsdale.  Not to mention the beautiful weather and abundance of outdoor activities, especially for those that love hiking!  The only drawback is the cost of living, however if you can afford it it’s a fantastic location to reside as a dog owner and holds the claim of the number one most dog friendly city in the United States.

Top 10 LEAST Dog Friendly Cities in the US

#10 Least Dog Friendly City: Detroit, MI

  • Pet Budget: 37/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 97/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 66/100

#9 Least Dog Friendly City: Aurora, CO

  • Pet Budget: 79/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 61/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 70/100

#8 Least Dog Friendly City: Nashville, TN

  • Pet Budget: 75/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 74/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 78/100

#7 Least Dog Friendly City: Newark, NJ

  • Pet Budget: 94/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 28/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 92/100

#6 Least Dog Friendly City: Santa Ana, CA

  • Pet Budget: 95/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 46/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 55/100

#5 Least Dog Friendly City: Chula Vista, CA

  • Pet Budget: 89/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 83/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 34/100

#4 Least Dog Friendly City: Milwaukee, WI

  • Pet Budget: 35/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 98/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 87/100

#3 Least Dog Friendly City: Buffalo, NY

  • Pet Budget: 69/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 91/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 91/100

#2 Least Dog Friendly City: Laredo, TX

  • Pet Budget: 2/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 100/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 67/100

#1 Least Dog Friendly City: Fresno, CA

  • Pet Budget: 91/100
  • Pet Health & Wellness: 99/100
  • Outdoor Pet Friendliness: 46/100